Friday 30 September 2016

From Sue Perkins to Joss Whedon - the silly and shocking reasons celebs leave Twitter

Jonathan McAloon

Published 16/04/2015 | 13:41

Sinead O'Connor
Sinead O'Connor

As Joss Whedon leaves Twitter weeks after Sue Perkins who left weeks after Stephen Fry, we look at some of the upsetting, bizarre, and downright lazy reasons why celebrities have left the social media platform...

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Joss Whedon

Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon left his 1m Twitter followers in the lurch this weekend as he deactivated his account.

He didn't cite a reason but signed off with "thanks to all the people who've been so kind and funny and inspiring up in here".

The Avengers sequel has landed the second biggest US opening of all time with $191m after Avengers.

However, Whedon has been garnering some criticism on Twitter over the portrayal of the sole female character in the film, Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson) as a 'damsel in distress'.

Critics have labelled Whedon a 'hypocrite' since he criticised the teaser for Jurassic World for being "70s era sexist", a comment for which he later apologised. 

Joss Whedon quits Twitter following accusations of 'sexist' portrayal of Black Widow in Avengers  

Sue Perkins

After being named as a possible replacement for Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear, Great British Bake off presenter Sue Perkins received sexist abuse and death threats on Twitter. Sadly – but understandably – the television personality has since announced that she will be "off Twitter for a bit".

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However, Perkins is by no means the only celebrity to attract negative attention on the social media website. The instantaneous, unregulated nature of Twitter means that visible figures can quickly become the target of online hatred and bullying. But there are other reasons for celebrities to leave the Twittersphere: some take short breaks to rejuvinate themselves, some become "trolls" themselves and are advised to leave by their PR companies, and some simply can't be bothered anymore. Here, we take a look at some high profile exits from Twitter.

Zayn Malik

One Direction isn't the only thing the singer has quit. In 2012 Malik deleted his Twitter account, to the dismay of his then five million followers, after posting: "The reason i don't tweet as much as i use to, is because I'm sick of all the useless opinions and hate that i get daily goodbye twitter :)". He reappeared in the Twittersphere two days later. No doubt Directioners are hoping that his recent departure from the band will be similarly shortlived ...

Matt Lucas

Little Britain star and writer Matt Lucas left Twitter in 2012 after a teenager made a joke about the 2009 suicide of Kevin McGee, Lucas's former civil partner. "Shame on you. I'm not joking. I think you should delete that tweet. It really upset me," responded Lucas. "I appreciate all the support on here over the past couple of years but it's time to shut down my Twitter account." Lucas has since returned to Twitter life, but, sadly, received homophobic abuse earlier this year.

Lena Dunham

"I deleted Twitter because I’m trying to create a safer space for myself emotionally," Girls creator Lena Dunham told American radio host Ryan Seacrest at the Golden Globes in January. But by "deleted Twitter" Dunham simply meant that she had removed the app from her phone. Her profile still existed, and she still checked it, though not with the same obsessiveness. She is currently back to being her old prolific self.

Marlorie Blackman

The British Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman came off Twitter in 2014 after a misrepresentation of her views lead to a vile racist reaction on social media. Following an interview in which the Noughts and Crosses author suggested that "we still have a way to go in this country to diversify books", Sky News ran a headline claiming Blackman had said children's books have "too many white faces". Blackman has yet to return to Twitter, but Sky News have since apologised for their "sloppiness" and the Twittersphere has expressed its support for Blackman with the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooksUK.

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry is not only an immensely popular Twitter presence, but somebody who knows how to get the most out of the medium. Nevertheless, the comedian and writer left his 10 million followers for a period in 2009 because he had seen "too much aggression and unkindness around".

In 2014 he tweeted, possibly in relation to a secret filming location: “Closing down on Twitter while filming. In a place whence I've been advised it is safest not to tweet. See you December. Here goes…” Short breaks from Twitter may also be part of Fry's strategy to keep followers interested – in the spirit of "absence makes the heart grow fonder" – and think up new material. In February he posted this announcement:

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Sinead O'Connor

The Nothing Compares 2 U singer left Twitter in 2011 after she posted a number of revealing tweets about her personal life and her mental health, including admitting to contemplating suicide. "I’ve stopped Twitter now because, although it was fun for a while, I had to stop because I was getting too much abuse," she said at the time. O'Connor, who maintained that her followers took her tweets "too seriously", has since returned to the social media platform.

Nicki Minaj

After the leak of her 2012 album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded by a fan site, Minaj said “A voice in my head told me to delete my Twitter and that’s what I did." BUt the voice in MInaj's head wasn't too persuasive: she has since returned to the site.

Alec Baldwin

In 2013 the 55-year-old Hollywood actor became irate after a British journalist reported that his pregnant wife, Hilaria, was tweeting during Sopranos star James Gandolfi's funeral. The tweets supposedly ranged from shopping tips to recipes. Baldwin's Twitter defence quickly became quite disturbing...

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Baldwin quit his Twitter account soon after. He has since returned to the Twittersphere.

Iggy Azalea

When it comes to the world of social media, it's hard to know what to expect from Iggy Azalea. Though formidable in Twitter arguments with other musicians such as Eminem and Azealia Banks, the rapper has also announced her retirement on more than one occasion. Following media comments about her body in February, Azalea told the world that her record label would be handling her social media accounts from here on in.

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She returned to Twitter yesterday.

Prince

The eccentric musical innovator has always been fascinated and terrified by technology. One of the first to use the internet as a tool for music distribution, he was then one of the first to rigorously take his music down from the internet after the advent of online streaming and sharing.

After declaring in 2010 that "the internet is completely over", he went on to set up Twitter, Facebook, Vevo and Soundcloud accounts for his new venture 3rd Eye Girl in 2013. But, while the Purple Rain star may have been spelling his song titles with numbers and symbols long before even text messaging existed, he apparently didn't find a release in 140 character expression, and abandoned Twitter in late 2014. Oh well. Bye bye Prince. C U L8r.

Frankie Boyle

Comedian Frankie Boyle was branded "vile" when he made distasteful comments during the opening ceremony for the London Paralympic Games in 2012. Surviving this, Boyle left the network in 2014 because, in his own words, he could no longer "be bothered".

James Arthur

There hasn't been a public Twitter disgrace quite like former X Factor winner James Arthur's. After surviving a number of scandals involving sex workers and a pair of white socks (google it at your own risk), Arthur responded to a song by the battle rapper Micky Worthless, and was promptly accused of homophobia and racism.

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When Simon Cowell and other Syco representatives tried to limit his Twitter damage, the singer from Middlesbrough compared himself to Tilikum, the captive Orca Whale in the documentary Blackfish that was made to perform, and killed or injured a number of its trainers.

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He attempted to dump his PR on Twitter, saying he should stick to promoting Britain's Got Talent winner Paul Potts.

 

He even had a spat with the above Twitter malcontent, Frankie Boyle, which has since been deleted. He agreed to quit his Twitter account and hand it over to Cowell and co, but came back after he was fired from the label.

Telegraph.co.uk

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